Wild weather mix hits Oklahoma
Mild Christmas Day weather for most of the state gave way to a strange mix of weather Saturday that prompted flood, tornado and blizzard warnings.
A blizzard warning is in effect for the Panhandle and continues until noon Monday in Beaver, Cimarron and Texas counties, the National Weather Service reported.
In addition, 14 western counties are under a winter storm warning through Monday afternoon, the weather service says.
"The winter weather hasn't quite entered the body of Oklahoma yet. We expect the snow to start late this evening or early Sunday. It looks like snow and only snow is going to be mostly confined to west-central and northwest Oklahoma," said Wayne Ruff, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman.
"By the time you get to Oklahoma City, we're probably not looking at much snow. If you go out towards Yukon, they could have up to three or four inches," Ruff said. "In the Oklahoma City area, we're forecasting around a quarter-inch of ice, but that may be a mixture of sleet and freezing rain together."
A tornado was reported about 2 p.m. about 7 miles northeast of Byars in McClain County, but no damage was reported. The twister was the only one confirmed by the weather service Saturday, but it's possible more touched down.
Flooding prompted the closure of one lane of northbound Interstate 35 between State Highway 9 and Main Street Saturday afternoon, according to the state transportation department. Between six inches and a foot of water was reported in the area.
Rain fell across much of the state through the morning and afternoon. Sites at Acme, Bixby, Chickasha, Hectorville, Inola, Ninnekah, Norman, Nowata, east Oklahoma City, Okmulgee, Pryor, Spencer, and Talala all registered more than two inches of rainfall by sundown, the Oklahoma Mesonet reported.
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Snow is expected to fall Sunday in northwestern parts of the state, and freezing rain and sleet is expected to stretch east to Oklahoma City. The areas most likely to see ice accumulation is a swath that runs from the southwest corner of the state and reaches as far northeast as Ponca City, weather service forecasters predict.
Power outages are possible Sunday as the storms bring with them gusts up to 45 mph. On Monday, the winds should ease slightly, but snow is expected across most of the state.
The weather service forecasts that some areas of northwest Oklahoma will receive more than eight inches of snowfall. Central Oklahoma likely will likely see between one and four inches through Monday, while the southeastern part of the state is expected to catch from six to nine inches of rainfall.
Temperatures are supposed to reach the mid-30s Sunday in Oklahoma City, dropping into the upper 20s at night.
On Monday, the temperature is expected to hover around the freezing mark and drop into the teens overnight, the weather service said.